Nowadays supermarkets are flooded with products that claim to be organic. You will see aisles full of organic flour, organic pulses, spices and even organic eggs and meat (animals fed on organic feed and not being subjected to antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.)
Did you know?
Sikkim has been declared as India’s first fully organic state and India ranks 9th in the area under organic agriculture.
So what does it mean when we say Organic Food?
Organic Food Definition | A product is called organic if it is produced in a farming system that uses no chemicals like fertilizers, GMOs or artificial additives and solely relies on non- chemical farming practices like crop rotation, animal and plant manure, and biological pest controls.
The international standard of declaring anything organic requires it to be 100% chemical and pesticide-free but India doesn’t always follow the rules. The certifying authorities all have different standards for providing the certificate.
The Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 are based on the standards of National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS-India).Organic foods may be certified under 28 NPOP or 562 PGS.
The Telangana State Seed & Organic Certification Authority, for example, recently tested a sample of organic food in India to find that almost all the samples contained chemical residues.
Why Choose Organic Food?
Organic Food Benefits | Organic Food is healthier -Some studies have indicated that the use of pesticides even at low doses can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
The widespread use of pesticides has also led to the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with extremely toxic poisons like 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.
GMOs are engineered to make food crops resistant to herbicides and/or to produce an insecticide.
Organic Food is Tastier – You might have felt how your non –organic food sometimes tastes like you are eating plastic – too much use of GMO or pesticides or fertilizers can affect the taste of your food too. Organic food is crunchier and cooks faster and tastes better.
Milk from cows that have been fed on Pesticide and Fertilizer rich feed and hormone injected cows has been linked to more hormonal imbalances in young girls and has been found to have an increased risk of breast, prostate, and endometrial tumors.
The Challenges in opting for organic food
- Since only a few farms are raising organic crops, availability is a concern.
- Because of reduced use of preservatives and pesticides, shelf life is less – so make sure to buy a small quantity and pay attention to the packaging date
- Higher cost –farmer converts his/her land from conventional chemical-based farming to organic farming, there is a risk of loss in yield due to the withdrawal of chemical inputs and high-yielding varieties of seeds.
- Transportation costs are higher since organic food needs to be transported from far away locations to cities which further causes a swell in prices.
How to Choose the right Organic foods?
Till we are able to grow our own organic food, we have to rely on the ones available in the supermarkets. Here is a list of things to look out for when buying an organic Product
- Look for the FSSAI Logo & License No.
- Look for the India Organic Logo.
- A product that has a single ingredient should be labeled as “Organic “ or “PGS -Organic”.
- A product that has multiple ingredients should have the label “PGS-Certified Organic” which means a minimum of 95% of ingredients is of certified organic origin.
- Name and logo of the Accredited Certification Body & Accreditation Number or in case of PGS certification, the product should bear PGS group & unique ID code.